Earthquakes and aftershocks in Italy…Heartbreaking loss of life…Our own earthquake memories from the mountains in Italy…

BBC news photo of earthquake rubble as rescuers search for victims of this week’s 6.2 earthquake. See details below.

Some of our readers may assume we’re so far away from civilization at times that we don’t hear what’s happening in other parts of the world. Without a TV in many locations, we’re still easily aware of world news from online announcements we receive and when reading online news and watching videos each day.

In most cases, we’re aware of news as readily as those in the more populated regions of the world with news available 24/7. The Internet also provided live video news feeds and broadcasts from around the world. Many who only watch news on TV may have never utilized online news. 

It’s as detailed and up-to-date as any broadcast news, keeping us well informed. However, local news feeds here in Phuket are behind some of the international reporting services throughout the world, as we’ve seen with the recent bombings.

The 300-year-old building we lived in during three months in Boveglio is near the clock tower in the top right in this photo. Certainly, none of these homes were earthquake proofed.

We were shocked and saddened to hear of the earthquakes in Italy that occurred on Wednesday (Thursday here) reported again this morning on BBC news, a source we often use:

“The 6.2-magnitude quake hit in the early hours of Wednesday, 100km (65 miles) northeast of Rome in mountainous central Italy.

The worst affected towns – Amatrice, Arquata, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto – are usually sparsely populated, but have been swelled by tourists visiting in summer, making estimates for the precise number missing difficult.

More than 200 people died in Amatrice alone, Ansa news agency reported.”

View from the living room window of other historic homes where we lived in Boveglio, Italy in the summer of 2013 where, we experienced a 5.2 earthquake without significant damage.

For today’s ongoing story of the earthquakes and aftershocks in Italy, including photos and videos, please click here.

We send our heartfelt sympathy and prayers for the families, friends, neighbors and tourists for those who lost their lives, for the rescue and healing of those injured and, for those hundreds, if not thousands of citizens who lost their homes, their livelihood and their sense of history and heritage as many historic buildings crumbled to the ground. 

Also, we pray for safety for the many rescuers who risk their own lives in the process. Many have traveled from around the globe to assist local rescue services.

In summer of 2013, we lived in a very similar village in Italy, in Boveglio, high in the mountains of Tuscany in a 300 year old stone house as shown in a few of today’s photos.

A short walk in the neighborhood where every building was old and most likely not earthquake proof.

Only four days after we arrived in Boveglio, Italy, we experienced a 5.2 earthquake in the region described as follows on our site with seismology statistics we’d discovered at the time Please click here for details.

For our story of the experience, please click here for our post of June 21, 2013.  For Tom, it was the first time he’d felt an earthquake described in that post:

Halfway through writing our blog today, we experienced a 5.2 earthquake as we sat on the veranda.  Having grown up in southern California, this was a familiar sensation for me, although  it was Tom’s first experience.  We reminded ourselves as we ran for cover, that we are in an over 300-year-old stone house, most likely the safest place to be. Wow! The adventures never cease to amaze us!”

Little did we realize at the time that the 300-year-old building didn’t provide us with a safe place to be during an earthquake described in the above BBC news story. Apparently, many of the historic buildings provided no safety for the residents and tourists of the above listed villages devastated in this week’s 6.2 quake. 

Apparently, many are angry and frustrated that building codes didn’t require “earthquake proofing” of the old buildings. Sadly, for many of the owners, had such requirements been imposed by regulatory agencies, they’d have been unable to afford the costly upgrades.

It was required, we walk up this steep set of stone steps to gain access to the living quarters of the 300 year old stone house in which we lived for three months.  To hang laundry we had to maneuver these steps to the ledge shown on the left to get on the veranda, a very tricky and dangerous proposition.  Can you imagine trying to escape during an earthquake?  Most likely, many of those trapped under the rubble were faced with similar scenarios.

This is sad news. Should one wonder if further investigation isn’t necessary when staying for long periods in historic buildings or in living in high risk areas where crime is rampant or with a high risk of many types of natural disasters?

Good grief, we could go nuts trying to avoid what appears to be transpiring throughout the world. No place on the planet is exempt from some sort of risk or another. Undoubtedly, risks may be higher in certain areas which we attempt to avoid. But many seemingly safe regions present their own versions of risk.

We can only continue to book venues and locations considering many aspects of safety. Honestly, other than avoiding high risk areas of civil and political unrest, we continue researching our next leg of our itinerary. 

At this point, booked through March 18, 2018, we’ve decided to wait to add onto our itinerary until we arrive in Tasmania in December, 2016.  While there for three months, we’ll have a good WiFi signal and be able to concentrate on the future. It is during this research period that we’ll have an opportunity to study a variety of risks for each new location.

From the road below in the mountainous area, we took this photo of neighboring houses.

As an aside: As we prepare today’s post, for the sake of our Minnesota readers, Tom is listening to Garage Logic on KSTP 1500 radio, broadcasting from the Minnesota State Fair which opened yesterday. Over the remaining five days in Phuket with a good WiFi signal, we’ll be listening to the two-hour show (which is on live weekdays only, but can be listened to at any time via saved podcasts on the website) including another few hours of Sports Talk.

For our readers who aren’t able to attend their local, state fairs, most states and counties broadcast information and stories on similar radio shows that can be found online and listened to via a podcast. If you need help finding such a broadcast for your state fair, please write to us and we’ll try to help you find the link.

Enjoy the day and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 25, 2015:

We were shocked to see the reasonable price on this exquisite flower arrangement at only AUD 20, USD $14.20 at the farmers market in Cairns, Australia.  For more photos, please click here. 

Bad news keeps coming and coming…How do we handle the risks?

Overall, the neighborhood in which we’re living has newer single family homes.  However, the area contains a number of modest living and working environments such as this we pass on the way to our villa.

It’s hard not to watch the news on TV when we have English speaking news here in Phuket. From terrorism to plane crashes to political hoopla, the negative keeps coming and coming.

One might think it’s easy to isolate ourselves from world affairs while living outside of our home country. But, even without TVs in many countries, we can’t get away from it when we have several news apps on our laptops that keep popping up the latest “horror of the day, week or month.”

One might also think, “shut it off” and live our lives of travel embracing our new surroundings from location to location. However, we weren’t oblivious back “then” (while living in the US) and we aren’t oblivious “now.”

Over the past few years, we’ve lived in close proximity to chickens and crowing roosters. Now, as we prepare today’s post, we can hear roosters crowing, a sound we’ve come to ignore, even while sleeping. The breed of chickens in Thailand is different than we’ve seen in the past.

In other words, one can “run but can’t hide” from the realities facing our world from one corner of the world to another. We won’t get into all the issues here and now. Most of our readers are savvy, not only reading our daily drivel, but also paying close attention to what’s happening in their homeland and throughout the world.  They know. We all know.

Over these past years we’ve raved about Emirates Airlines safety record and yet yesterday they had a frightening crash luckily handled by competent pilots saving the lives of 300 passengers but sadly with the loss of life of one firefighter. Nothing ever stays the same. Do we think twice about traveling on Emirates in the future?

Driving down the dirt road from our villa toward the highway.

Before we lock in any flights we check airline safety records at sites such as this and others.  No matter how often we check and how safe a record may be for any given airline, it only takes one disaster to end the lives of hundreds of passengers.  \There’s no guarantee.

It’s the same with terrorism. No place is exempt from an a devastating occurrence. Sure, many parts of the world aren’t safe at any time. But, those countries, cities, and small towns which may seem safe become just as vulnerable after a single incident. 

Once on the main highway, the roads are good with relatively light traffic during most times of the day.

One cannot predict where that may be although some locations are glaringly obvious at this time, those that we see on the news over and over again as more and more lives are lost. 

Can we avoid visiting those vulnerable locations? We try. Then again, we hear of natural disasters over which no one can predict the devastation often destroying hundreds of lives, families and homes. We have no means of determining where those locations may be.

Many old Thai style buildings line the highway.

Now, living on the island of Phuket, we’re remain aware of the 2004 tsunami, where hundreds of thousands of lives were lost in 14 countries as indicated below from this site:

“The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on 26 December with the epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The shock had a moment magnitude of 9.1–9.3 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). The undersea megathrust earthquake was caused when the Indian Plate was subducted by the Burma Plate and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing 230,000 people in 14 countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 metres (100 ft) high. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Indonesia was the hardest-hit country, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.”

Its been a full week since we grocery shopped. As soon as we upload today’s post, we’ll be heading back to this Costco-like store for the next week’s groceries. 

At the time on US and world news, we heard more about the loss of life in Phuket, Thailand which remained in our minds all these years, than we did about the other 13 countries. And yet, in four weeks from today, we head back to Indonesia to live directly on the ocean, a matter of meters from the sea to the veranda, a country that also fell prey to loss of thousands of lives. Do we worry?

We ask ourselves the question, “If we lived in a senior community in seemingly safe Arizona or Florida in the USA where many seniors move to escape cold weather, would we be any safer?” 

Buddhism is the primary religion in Thailand. Many shrines such as this are found at local businesses such as this at a gas station.

The answer is clear. No country, no state, no city and no small town or village in the world is safe. For us, the real question becomes, “Do we allow ourselves to be filled with fear and worry while living amid the most exciting and interesting times of our lives?”

Lots of exposed power lines along the highway in Phuket. We’ve been concerned we’d lose power here and have experienced a few surges but, so far so good.

We can allow the “bad news” orientated media to rule the quality of our lives or, we can chose to find fulfillment and joy within the framework of the lives we’ve chosen for ourselves. We opt for the later.

As we look to the future and the countries we plan to visit, we consider many factors.  Like Life itself, there’s no guarantee. We chose to live in the moment and for now, the moment is looking good. 

May all of your moments look good as well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 4, 2015:

St. Mary’s by the Sea in Port Douglas was originally a Catholic church, is now multi-denominational performing services for a variety religions. For more details, please click here.

Cyclone in Fiji…We missed it by seven weeks…

Lilies are blooming in the lily pad in the huge stone pot in the yard.

Many of our less frequent readers have written asking if we were still living in Fiji’s during the horrific Cyclone Winston on February 20th, (ironically, the day of my birthday). Having left Fiji on January 4th to fly to Sydney for our last cruise we were long gone from the islands. Thank you for all of your inquiries.

We’re grateful we left when we did, but saddened by the loss of 42 lives as recorded to date, thousands injured, and loss of homes, crops, and livelihood for many of its residents. 

We can’t possibly imagine how hard life must be for them now grieving for their lost loved ones and friends along with homes destroyed, no power and water, and, Savusavu roads to the village being completely washed out.

Had we still been living on the island of Vanua Levu high on the hills above the ocean, the house held up on stilts on the ocean view side, we can only speculate on the awful experience of living through one of the worst cyclones (referred to as a hurricane in the northern hemisphere) in recorded history. 

This streak across the sky seemed somewhat long and wide to be from a plane.

Here’s a link describing the storm in detail.

A cyclone or tropical storm is a system of winds rotating inward to an area of low atmospheric pressure with a counterclockwise (in the northern hemisphere) or clockwise southern hemisphere circulation; a depression.

As it was, there were power outages 10% of our time in Savusavu without any major storms. We can only speculate on how long the islands may be without power and public services over the next many months. I tried writing to our two past landlords on both islands, only to get the messages kicked back as “undeliverable.”

Here’s a video of some of the devastation in Savusavu, Fiji.

We spent our first three months in Vanua Levu beginning September 8, 2015, flying to Viti Levu, the main island on December 6th, living in Pacific Harbor, eventually leaving for Sydney on January 4, 2016.

View of Mount Taranaki from a walk in the neighborhood.

Five people were killed by the cyclone in Pacific Harbour, the small town where we spent our final 28 days in Fiji.

Here’s a video of some of the devastation in Pacific Harbour, Fiji. 

It’s hard for us to believe this occurred shortly after we left Fiji. In our world travels, we always run the risk of political unrest, wars, terrorist attacks, accidents, earthquakes, and destructive life-threatening weather. 

Some of our family members have expressed concern over our being exposed to such devastation to a greater degree by traveling the world. Sure, airport terminals, flights, and cruises do expose us to additional risks. 

The scenery from a recent drive.

But, as we watch the US news on a daily basis, we’re often appalled by the devastation that occurs in our native country; lives were taken by the radicals and lives taken by natural disasters. 

There’s no place in the world that is exempt from risk. We don’t take these risks lightly. As we thrive in this simple, beautiful life in seemingly innocuous New Zealand, we continually hear of more earthquakes in Christchurch, South Island, NZ.

On February 11, 2011, 80% of Christchurch and the surrounding areas were devastated by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake as described in this recent news story as more and more quakes continue to occur. As reported in the news 185 souls were lost as a result of this quake.

The flower blooming season is coming to an end.  I spotted this solitary flower yesterday on a walk in the neighborhood.

It makes no sense for us to spend our lives in fear of what “could happen.” We can only proceed with our journey with a degree of caution and alertness for our continued safety as we pray for those who suffer at the hands of humans and nature.

May the lovely people of Fiji find their way to recovery and healing with the heartfelt assistance and prayers from millions worldwide. May your lives be safe from harm.

Photo from one year ago today, February 29, 2015:

There was no post on February 29, 2015, when there was no February 29th one year ago with this year as a leap year!  Back tomorrow with March 1st!

First earthquake in Queensland in almost 100 years…5.7 magnitude…Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas photos…One year ago Paris photos…

Most of the beaches in Queensland are sandy.

Queensland is a large state. A 5.7 earthquake rattled the eastern coast of Australia near Frazer island, only after another quake of 5.3 magnitude hit the same area a few days earlier.

There’s no doubt that walking and biking enthusiasts would want to tackle the entire distance of the Four Mile Beach, the beginning shown here.  No thanks.

Geoscience Australia stated the earthquake stuck 119km northeast of Rainbow Beach at a depth of 10km at around 1:38 pm (AEST). This was apparently the strongest earthquake to hit Queensland since 1918 and is reported to be 10 to 20 times stronger than Thursday quake.

The sand at the beach is as fine and soft as silk.

We’re not very close to this area. It’s a three-hour flight from Cairns to the island which includes a ferry ride, too far for us to feel the quake. But, the news is abuzz with constant reporting on this unusual event.

As we entered Four Mile Beach.

We can’t help but pay attention to these natural events as we travel the world. Recently, we’ve paid special attention to the eruption of Mount Raung in Bali, which closed the airports off and on for weeks as it continued to erupt. This could easily affect us in our two future trips to Bali.

The views at the Four Mile Beach are breathtaking, as are most beaches we’ve seen throughout the world.

How ironic is it, that we’ll have been living on two islands with erupting volcanoes, far apart from one another 16 months apart?  Visiting Mount Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii was an extraordinary experience, especially when our family was with us witnessing this once in a lifetime experience together. Well, maybe seeing lava won’t be a once in a lifetime experience for us after all with Bail in near future plans.

Now that we’re not worried at all as compared to how worried we were a year ago when the lava could have overtaken the area in which we booked the two houses for our family visit last Christmas in Pahoa on the Big Island. That was quite a worrisome event. 

We took this photo the night we visited Mount Kilauea, which we visited with family in late December 2014. For more of our volcano photos, please click here.

Where would we have put 14 of us last minute in Hawaii over Christmas? Thank goodness it all worked out when the lava took a turn the last several weeks and our location was off the high-risk list.

This morning the news is reporting about last year’s horrific crash of MH370 Malaysia Airlines and finding a part of the plane on Reunion Island. Neither of us had heard of Reunion Island until we lived in South Africa. 

Tom lounging on the veranda at African Reunion House, where we lived for several weeks while in South Africa, thanks to our hosts, Louise and Dani.  For more details on this house, please click here.

At that time, we stayed in the above fabulous house managed by Louise and Dani, Reunion House, aptly named after the owner’s home base on Reunion Island. We pray that the balance of the wreckage is found to bring a little peace to those who lost loved ones in the awful crash.

On the return drive, we stopped to take photos of the end of the Four Mile Beach.

Oh, the world is filled with disasters and bad news. Sometimes I wish we’d stop watching the news which even in Australia keeps up updated on what’s going on in the US and all over the world. At the moment, on the Sunday morning news, we continue to hear about the tragic killing of Cecil, the lion which continues to dominate the news. 

It is a small world. The more we travel, the more connection we feel to many parts of the world when only three years ago we were preparing to explore as we prepared to venture into the unknown.

In no time at all, as we drove back from Port Douglas we were able to see Double Island once again.

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to walk the garbage and recycling down the very steep road to the bin rather than wait until we’d go out again, which is many times per week. Once we arrived at the road and placed the trash in the appropriate bins, we decided to take a walk on the road.

A few ambitious fishermen.

Looking to the left, we saw a huge steep hill, and then, looking to the right, we spotted another huge steep hill.  We opted for the right. Forty-five minutes later after walking up and down the hills in the hot sun, we were ready to tackle the huge hill back up to the house.

Although we walk a lot, mostly out and about at various points of interest, we don’t walk with athleticism in mind. (Tom doesn’t like going for walks although occasionally, he’ll humor me as in yesterday’s vigorous walk). By the time we reached our challenging driveway, we were ready to tackle it, and up and up we went. Surprisingly, we weren’t puffing as much as in the past. 

We stopped to take photos from a high point on the return drive from Port Douglas.

Perhaps, our walks and my working out again has contributed to our improved stamina. Perhaps, peace of mind over our good health reports has enhanced Tom’s enthusiasm to walk a little more often. We shall see how that rolls out.

Tom with the Four Mile Beach behind him. Gee, look how slim he is after eating homemade meals this past almost two months.
Me with the Four Mile Beach in the background.

Today, we’re staying put, making a Sunday dinner of bacon-wrapped hard-boiled egg stuffed meatloaf, a crust free mushroom quiche, green beans, and salad on the side. As soon as I’ve uploaded today’s post I’ll be making my way to the kitchen to begin preparing the food.

Have a great Saturday and Sunday, wherever you may be.

                                               Photo from one year ago today, August 2, 2014:
We arrived in Paris on August 1st and posted a few posts with the same date. Here is the first video we took in Paris at 10 pm the night we arrived. What a sight! What an experience! It was hard to believe we were in Paris. Click here for more Paris photos. 
My pockets were jammed with my stuff when carrying a wallet, phone, or camera in Paris is subject to pickpockets. We were at the City of Architecture in Paris as we walked for hours on August 2nd. Click here for more photos.

Tom on the steps of the City of Architecture and Heritage as we continued on our 5 miles, 8km walk that day.

A little bit of history of Boveglio, Villa Basilica, Lucca, Toscano, Italy..Flight booked for Kenya…No more tremors during the night…

On our hilly, heart pounding walk this morning, the simplest views caught our attention.

Our automated emails sent to those of you have signed up to receive daily messages of the latest post in your inbox still appears to be having a problem. Many have sent us email messages and inquires in Facebook.  Our web designer had assumed that the problem with Blogger was fixed but apparently not yet.  She continues to work on this and we will notify you as soon as it is repaired so once again you will find the daily posts in your inbox.

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Our MiFi isn’t working in Boveglio. The Internet connection provided by the gracious property owners of our temporary home have WiFi but it is slow and unpredictable, requiring us to either be outside for a good connection.  Most likely the issue is due to the three foot stone walls in this lovely property.

Thank you for your patience.  We appreciate the notifications and give this the utmost concern.  Please continue to enjoy our posts in the interim via this link.

Last night, close to sunset, we discovered this village of Colognora beyond the mountains.
As the sun was about to set, the moon began to peek out.  Surely in the next few nights it will be full, definitely inspiring us to get more shots. 

Luckily, there were no more aftershocks yesterday although we’d made a plan before bed that if there were during the night as to where we dash to safety. Also, Luca the owner wrote to us yesterday explaining that the house had been retrofitted for earthquakes when it had recently been remodeled, putting our minds at ease allowing us both to get a good night’s sleep.

Its interesting to observe the change in colors as the night falls while the cloud create shadows on the hillside.
As the sun goes down.

With all of our adapting and adjusting this past week, we’ve determined that we love it here.  We’ve accepted that the long winding drive to a larger village is a part of its Boveglio’s charm and beauty.  The house with it few quirks and challenges has, in this short period, become home for us. 

Last night, after dinner and watching the movie on my laptop, “Under the Tuscan Sun” we couldn’t stop smiling, as we sat on the veranda watching the sun go down, knowing full well that this is the place for us. With over two months in front of us, we are peaceful and content. The owners couldn’t be more helpful and kind, responding to our every whim with dignity and grace, as we strive to do the same.

Finding historical information about the 700 AD village of Boveglio was more challenging to accomplish than we’d anticipated. These villages, many of them still existing in a lifestyle reminiscent of earlier centuries, have yet to transfer information from their historical books to the Internet.  How foolish we are to assume that we can find everything online?

Butterflies are everywhere here in Toscana, a rarity in the US with the rampant use of pesticides killing them off.  The US uses 80% of the world’s pesticides.  (OK, I’ll get off my soapbox!)

After considerable research, we’ve found this link is the best we could share  with you regarding the history of this area. As we’ve discovered, the village of Boveglio is a part of the larger village of Villa Basilica, which is a village in the Lucca region, which is located in the region of Toscana, aka Tuscany. 

In this area, as one leaves a village, a diagonal line crosses the name of the village. Notice the hairpin sign, one of many on our ride down the mountains to Collodi, the village large enough to find groceries, a pharmacy, supplies and sundries, roughly a 30 minute drive from Boveglio.
This Bed and Breakfast is a few hundred feet from our door.
Originally researching Boveglio, we were excited that this bar and restaurant was within walking distance.  Unfortunately, we never asked the owners of our house, Lisa and Luca, if it still was in operation.  It has closed down as a public facility, now occupied by its owners.  The economy has spared no small businesses in Italy as we discover as we travel the world.

Rather than copy and paste gobs of information here, we’ve provided this link that you may find interesting as we did.

Tonight, we’ll have our “date night” (goodness, every night is date night these days), heading to Benabbio to Il Cavallino for dinner, to pay our bill for last Sunday’s dinner when we had no Euros (we now are stocked with enough for our remaining time here) and to pay Vivienne for the few supplies we’d purchased on Monday prior to our outing to Collodi on Tuesday to the larger store.

A house in our neighborhood appearing to be occupied.

In the interim, we’re running out of Prosciutto, an Italian substitute for Amerian bacon. Hopefully, we’ll find Vivienne serving at the restaurant again and she’ll run across the street, open her tiny shop and bring us back a supply to last us until we go back to Collodi in 10 days. 

This morning on our walk, we encountered the owner of this property which is next door to us, making a feeble attempt to introduce ourselves.  She spoke no English.

Bacon, which we love and is allowed in moderation on our way of eating, has been somewhat of an issue in our travels.  In Belize, they called it “butt bacon” and like butts, it was too fatty.  On some of the cruise ships, the fatty bacon was palatable only when very well done but still too fatty. 

In Dubai, there was no bacon at all due to pork avoidance by Muslims. Instead they sell a beefy substitute that although palatable, didn’t taste like bacon.

The houses across the street from us.

Now, in Italy, there is no bacon at all as we know it, only Prosciutto which doesn’t taste like bacon but does have a pleasing salty flavor when cooked with a touch of olive oil in a stainless steel skillet. 

Drawing in stone of the Virgin Mary inside the stone wall across the street from our house.

This morning’s breakfast consisted of scrambled free range eggs, with sautéed organic onions infused with tiny cubes (no shredded cheese here) of locally made cheese. Add the perfect Italian coffee, Lavazza and we were content until we savor Alessandro’s perfectly prepared dinner tonight at his restaurant.

Tomorrow we’ll include photos of the village of Benabbio and also our meals at Il Cavallino, prices and comments.

Now for the details of our upcoming flight to Kenya.

Planning for the next step in our journey never ceases. As much as we’d like to plan and book every form of transportation well in advance, we find it make more sense to continue to research and lock it in as we go.  

Planning a flight two to three months in advance is often adequate, although we’ve continued to check pricing as many as 300 days in advance (one can’t book a flight more than 330 days in advance with most airlines). 

If we had our way, we’d never fly, taking ships and trains to our locations. But, at this point in our travels with our burgeoning bucket lists, we’ve decided to bite the bullet and go to our most desired areas of the world first.  Thus, we fly.

Actually, our first flight wasn’t until we were almost eight months into our travels, when we fly from Dubai, UAE to Barcelona, Spain to go on our 8th cruise.  As mentioned in a prior post, we loved Emirates Airlines (except for the excess baggage fees and the confiscation of two power cords). 

Unfortunately, Emirates doesn’t fly all the way to Mombasa, Kenya which would force us to take an flight on Ethiopian Airlines part of the way which has many horrible reviews.  I can picture cows and chickens on their flights while passengers sit in seats lined up against the side walls.  Perhaps, an exaggeration but I can’t get this image out of my head.

Small houses appearing abandoned are actually often occupied.

Here is our one way flight from Venice, Italy, where’s we’ll return the rental car to the Marco Polo Airport, which forbids passengers from arriving any more than three hours before departure. 

This flight will require us to drive from Bogevlio on September 1, 2013 to Venice staying in a hotel near the airport, which is a half hour drive from the area of Venice we visited last Saturday.  Flight departs the next morning, is an partial overnight flight with us arriving in Mombasa at 3:10 am. 

Total duration: 15h 25mArrives next day

    • Venice
    • VCE 10:45am
    • Istanbul
    • IST 2:10pm
    • Terminal I
2h 25m 
902 mi
  • Turkish Airlines 1868
  • Economy/Coach (S) Seat Preview
  • Airbus A321 |  Meal
Layover:  4h 5m
    • Istanbul
    • IST 6:15pm
    • Terminal I
    • Kilimanjaro
    • JRO 1:10am + 1 day
    • Arrives on Tue Sep/3/2013
6h 55m 
3,108 mi
  • Turkish Airlines 673
  • Economy/Coach (S) Seat Preview
  • Boeing 737-900 |  Meal
Layover:  1h 0m
    • Kilimanjaro
    • JRO 2:10am
    • Departs on Tue Sep/3/2013
    • Mombasa
    • MBA 3:10am
    • Terminal 1
    • Arrives on Tue Sep/3/2013
1h 0m 
180 mi
Price for two, one way:  US $1468.66 (taxes and fees included).

What do we like about this flight:
1.  Many of the available flights took upwards of 32 hours.  This arrives in 15 hours, 25 minutes.
2.  The airlines, Turkish Air, overall had good to excellent reviews.
3.  The layover times were shorter than other flights.
4.  By using the same airlines all the way through, it’s less likely our luggage will be lost.

What we don’t like about this flight:
1.  Too long, in any case.
2.  Unable to arrange seat assignments until closer to flight time. (It on our calendar to check back 30 days out).
3.  The cost.  There were cheaper flights, none of which were well reviewed airlines.
4.  Unable to clearly define the baggage allowance in advance.  We are considering shipping half of each of our belongings to Kenya, even with the risk of it not arriving.  (We’ll insure it). First, we must check with the owner of the property in Kenya which we will do shortly.

Booking through where we have an account earning points, we feel confident in our decision.

Our rental in Kenya begins on September 1st.  Arriving on the September 3rd results in our paying for two days rent and not yet moving in.  Kenya has a 90 day visa provided at the airport upon entrance. 

Flowers blooming near our exterior door.

By arriving a few days late, we avoid the necessity of obtaining an additional visa with our rental ending on November 30, 2013. We save on visa fees, travel costs to the closest immigration office and a tremendous amount of inconvenience. The loss of two day’s rent is well worth it.

There it is folks, our story for today. We’ll be back tomorrow with more news.

Earthquake update in our area in Northern Italy…Lots of aftershocks…Here’s some stats…

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Centre Sismologique Euro-Méditerranéen

Below is listed stats on the earthquakes we’re been experiencing today in Boveglio, Lucca, Tuscany, Northern Italy. 

Please excuse sketchy editing with our slow Internet connection.  Tom and I are hanging out very close to one another with a plan in place where to go as there are additional aftershocks.  We’ll keep posting updates of interest

Also, earlier today we posted many photos about the nuances of living in a 300 year old house and how we’ve adapted. Little did we know at that time, that we’d experience an earthquake.

Current time: 2013-06-21 12:52:22 UTC

Real Time Seismicity


1 earthquake2013-06-21   12:20:00.030min ago 44.17  N   10.12  E   10
4.1  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:44
5 F earthquake2013-06-21   12:12:40.037min ago 44.17  N   10.11  E   2 ML 4.1  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:34
earthquake2013-06-21   12:06:16.043min ago 44.18  N   10.16  E   6 ML 2.9  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:33
earthquake2013-06-21   11:59:37.050min ago 44.18  N   10.22  E   11 ML 3.0  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:29
earthquake2013-06-21   11:58:08.052min ago 44.19  N   10.19  E   10 ML 3.0  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:11
earthquake2013-06-21   11:56:01.054min ago 44.17  N   10.17  E   2 ML 2.6  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:15
earthquake2013-06-21   11:52:53.057min ago 44.18  N   10.23  E   11 ML 2.0  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:09
earthquake2013-06-21   11:51:45.058min ago 44.20  N   10.23  E   11 ML 2.0  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:02
earthquake2013-06-21   11:50:40.059min ago 44.02  N   10.11  E   2 ML 3.3  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:32
earthquake2013-06-21   11:33:08.01hr 17min ago 44.18  N   10.17  E   9 ML 2.1  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:42
earthquake2013-06-21   11:19:45.01hr 30min ago 44.20  N   10.23  E   11 ML 3.8  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:37
earthquake2013-06-21   11:18:12.01hr 32min ago 44.20  N   10.19  E   10 ML 2.2  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:30
earthquake2013-06-21   11:09:44.01hr 40min ago 44.09  N   10.02  E   10 ML 2.6  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:29
earthquake2013-06-21   11:05:02.01hr 45min ago 13.89  N   92.10  W   52 mb 4.2  OFFSHORE GUATEMALA 2013-06-21 11:32
earthquake2013-06-21   11:02:52.01hr 47min ago 44.14  N   10.13  E   1 ML 2.3  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:24
earthquake2013-06-21   11:01:48.01hr 48min ago 44.17  N   10.21  E   10 ML 2.2  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 12:45
earthquake2013-06-21   10:56:57.01hr 53min ago 44.16  N   10.13  E   1 ML 2.6  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:15
earthquake2013-06-21   10:55:04.01hr 55min ago 44.17  N   10.13  E   4 ML 2.5  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:14
earthquake2013-06-21   10:50:02.02hr 00min ago 44.15  N   10.15  E   9 ML 2.2  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:14
earthquake2013-06-21   10:46:29.02hr 03min ago 44.18  N   10.13  E   5 ML 2.6  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:13
1 earthquake2013-06-21   10:39:56.02hr 10min ago 44.19  N   10.17  E   10 ML 3.1  NORTHERN ITALY 2013-06-21 11:13
91 VI earthquake2013-06-21   10:33:59.02hr 16min ago 44.19  N   10.15  E   10 Mw     5.3
NORTHERN ITALY     2013-06- 21 10:33:59.0 UTC